In the interest of full disclosure, One Mile At A Time earns a referral bonus for anyone that’s approved through some of the below links. These are the best publicly available offers that we have found for each card. Please check out our advertiser policy for further details about the partners we work with. Thanks for your support!
Update: This offer is expired. You can find the current offer details here.
I’ve written in the past about the IHG Rewards Club Select Credit Card, which I’d argue is the single most compelling hotel credit card to keep long term. Readership on the blog is constantly growing, and I know a lot of people might not be familiar with what makes this card so awesome, so I figured I’d share.
First of all, the IHG® Rewards Club Select Credit Card comes with a 70,000 point sign-up bonus after spending $1,000 within three months of account opening, provided you haven’t received the bonus in the past 24 months. The annual fee on the card is $49, though it’s waived the first year.
With that in mind, here are five things that make this card especially awesome:
Annual free night at any property
One thing that makes many hotel credit cards worth holding onto is the annual free night certificate you receive just for having the card. For example, the Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card offers an annual free night at any Category 1-5 property just for having the card. The Chase Hyatt Credit Card offers an annual free night at any Category 1-4 property just for having the card.
But the IHG® Rewards Club Select Credit Card offers an annual free night certificate at any property worldwide. This is something incredibly valuable to almost anyone, given that:
- IHG Rewards Club is the world’s largest hotel chain, so chances are they have a hotel where you want to stay
- There are no category caps, so you can even redeem your free night at a property like the InterContinental Bora Bora or InterContinental London
Redeem your free night certificate at a hotel that would cost ~$450 per night
The best value annual fee of any hotel credit card
Given that the card offers an annual free night at any property in the world, you’d think it would have an annual fee at least as high as the cards which have caps on the categories free night certificates are valid at.
But it doesn’t. The card actually has the lowest annual fee of any hotel credit card with an annual reward. The annual fee is waived the first year, and just $49 per year after that. Compare that to the $95 annual fee on the Citi® Hilton HHonors Reserve Card or $85 annual fee on the Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card, both of which are still extremely rewarding cards.
Top tier elite status just for having the card
You receive IHG Rewards Club Platinum status for as long as you have the IHG® Rewards Club Select Credit Card. Now, truth to be told it’s not the most valuable hotel status out there, but it’s as good as it gets at IHG properties.
I don’t stay at IHG properties often, but to give an example, I received a suite upgrade without asking at the Crowne Plaza Doha recently, just for being a Platinum member.
10% off award redemptions
Just for having the IHG® Rewards Club Select Credit Card you get 10% off award redemptions, up to 100,000 points back each year. That means for the first million points you redeem each year you get a 10% discount.
IHG Rewards Club PointBreaks
Arguably the single best promotion in the hotel industry is IHG Rewards Club PointBreaks, whereby select hotels are available for just 5,000 points per night. Given that IHG Rewards Club points can be indirectly purchased for 0.7 cents each, that’s a way to get hotel rooms for 5,000 points per night.
Why does that matter in the context of this credit card?
- You get a further 500 point rebate when you have the IHG® Rewards Club Select Credit Card, given that you get a 10% refund on redemptions
- You get Platinum status for those stays, so hopefully get room upgrades, etc.
That adds even more value to what’s already arguably the most lucrative promotion in the hotel industry.
Every hotel credit card has a different selling point depending on what you’re looking for. I don’t think there’s objectively one best card. For example:
- The Citi® Hilton HHonors Reserve Card offers Gold status for as long as you have the card, which gets you free breakfast/lounge access at Hilton hotels — that’s potentially really valuable, though the card doesn’t come with an annual free night certificate just for having the card
- If you have the Club Carlson Premier Rewards Visa Signature® Card, the second night of every award redemption is free, which is insanely valuable; the card doesn’t offer an annual free night certificate, though
But at the very least, the IHG® Rewards Club Select Credit Card is worth keeping long term. I’ve had the card for a while, and while I don’t spend money on the card day-to-day, I’ll hold onto the card for a long time. The free night certificate more than justifies the annual fee, and the top tier elite status and 10% award rebate is the icing on the cake.
Also keep in mind that keeping some cards open long term helps your credit score since it increases your average age of accounts, and this is a card that contributes positively to that for me, since I don’t see myself canceling the card anytime soon.
Do you have the IHG® Rewards Club Select Credit Card? If not, what’s stopping you (assuming you’re able to apply for US credit cards)?